Avera Medical Minute: O-arm spine surgery helps Nebraska man

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YANKTON, S.D. (DAKOTA NEWS NOW) - It's a little slice of heaven. The Kathol farm just south of Yankton in Nebraska has been handed down through generations.

Dr. Adams performs spine surgeries with the help of O-arm technology

Recently Alvin Kathol was experiencing pain and didn't want to stop his plans for more years on the farm, so he went to his doctor. "He showed me on the x-rays where the damage was and said I think you will be a candidate for back surgery," said Kathol.

Alvin looked at his options across the region and chose Dr. Brent Adams to do the surgery at Avera Sacred Heart. "Did a little research on how good he was and felt real comfortable going into surgery," said Kathol.

A week out from surgery, and he's feeling better. "Very little pain," said Kathol.

And he's following the instructions as he recovers. "No BLT's. No bending lifting or twisting," said Kathol.

Dr. Brent Adams is an orthopedic spine surgeon from Yankton Medical Group P.C. He is also a Yankton native. "You interact with people that you knew or grew up with and then you can hardly even go to public places without running into your patients most of the time."

He came back home and helped to bring the O-arm to Avera Sacred Heart. "The O-arm is a 3D scanner, a CAT scanner that you have basically in the operating room. It takes images that are 3D, live time in the operating room, and then it downloads the images to a computer and then you basically put the instrumentations in a patient's spine under 3D navigation of the computer," said Dr. Adams.

"It's going to really help the patients here in the local area," said Dr. Adams. And just because Yankton has this amazing piece of technology, Dr. Adams says only 5-10 percent of patients actually need surgery. Other resources are available. "We have physical therapy, we have a pain group that we've established here, we have other modalities to treat patient's back pain," said Dr. Adams.

Dr. Adams enjoys making a difference in his hometown. "Whenever we can have a patient change their lives; most of the time we're trying to get rid of pain for them and if you can accomplish that it can really change your lives for the better," said Dr. Adams.

Alvin is glad quality healthcare is just a short drive away. "I've had seven surgeries in that hospital myself, and we've had four children that we've had and they were all born in the Avera system or Sacred Heart and I have yet to have a bad experience there," said Kathol.

The O-arm surgical device is especially helpful for complicated cases such as previous conditions or those with scoliosis.